Dear Mom of Girl(s)..

Letter to a fellow mom

Letter to a fellow mom

Dear MOG / Fellow Mom,

I love that we have something in common, just a little something -we are both parents. Be it of girls or boys, biological or adoptive. It does not matter in the least.

I have a growing concern which I would love to share with you in the hope that we would come to an agreement in the end, that is if I do not bore you half-way through my rambling.

You see, I grew up in an age and environment where children were allowed to be children and adults allowed to be adults as opposed to what is obtainable now in some climes. Seriously.

It wasn’t the stone age but in my house, dresses and skirts were always knee length and pants had enough room. No skinny-show-me-your-figure kind of stuffs. God help you if you refuse to put on what was picked for you to wear to outings / events / occasions.

I never had the ‘opportunity’ to wear make up until I gained admission into the tertiary institution. And I would often ponder on how ‘mean’ mom was. Like, why would you disallow a young girl from doing stuffs like that? Sacrilege of the highest order!

Same went for wearing weaves and braids. In those days, if you were yet to ‘clear’ your SSCE, you wouldn’t dare raise the issue of ‘making’ your hair? You just wear your boyish low cuts with forced pride while all your mates flip their weaves playing grown-ups even during short school holidays.

I used to envy ‘them’ at the time and ‘making’ my hair was one of the motivations for me to work harder in order to achieve some form of ‘liberation’. Hahaha.

On becoming a mom with little time to spare, ‘making’ same hair is such a chore and I love nothing more than my low-maintenance, hassle-free boyish low-cut. Talk of irony.

Maybe your parents were more liberal than mine but I believe my parents had their reason for putting those rules in place and I understand enough to appreciate their efforts now that I’m a parent even though I (silently) despised their ‘highhandedness’ back then. Were they living in outer space or what?
(Thanks, mom…will always love you)

I can see the times have drastically changed. At least from what is evident all around me.
It appears some of us ‘millenial’ parents cannot just wait to have our little ones grow up, super-fast. And I am not exempting myself here.

More like these little ones are being aided in their innocent growing-up-before-their-time quest.

You have a little girl or two, or three? I have two little boys and believe me, I envy you…a bit for having cute ‘mini-yous’ to adorn and coordinate outfits with.

I love little girls and when I see them dressed beautifully, my heart go a-fluttering.

But in my fluttering heart of hearts, dressing little girls beautifully does not consist of groomed lashes / brows, crimson lips, foundation and the rest that you would find on fully grown models.

One day- in the recent past, I was minding my own business on Facebook when I came across a picture of one of my ‘friend’s daughter on my timeline. You know how we have ‘friends’ we barely know or interact with on FB…

A sweet little girl who is really beautiful and not in the ‘all girls are beautiful’ way but a few quick observations soon made me uneasy.

Her brows were apparently groomed / shapened / lined with ‘dark’ pencil, she had on a weave and her lips were ‘helped’ with some light color. The overall effect was beautiful. Sexy, even…and I’m a mom…and she could not had been more than 4 years!

Quite a number of my ‘friend’s friends’ posted comments ‘ohing’ and ‘awwing’ over the pretty picture and I had half a mind to send a message to the parent who put up the picture but then, I had to keep minding my own business and keep my unsolicited advice to myself for fear of being told off.

I know..I know I’m doling out that same advice now, unsolicited.

Maybe I feel differently because I’m a MOB (mother of boy(s) who doesn’t know jack about how little princesses are dolled up these days. Maybe it’s the in-thing. Who knows? Maybe I’m archaic…or from outer space, like my mom.

Mom of girl

Mom and son

 

 

 

MOG or MOB…we are one on this journey..

 

I just couldn’t help it.

In the far recesses of my clueless mom-of-boys mind, I could understand MOGs wanting to have the cutest little girl on the block  but a little bit of caution wouldn’t be out of order now, would it?

See, if that little girl could conjure a ‘sexy’ image in my mind, I shudder to think of what would go through the mind of the many sick predators lurking around.

I do not even want to link this with the surge in rape incidences but it is worrisome that little girls form a great percentage of rape victims, around me. I read quite a number of cases in the papers and heard about at least 3 different cases in my neighborhood recently and it makes me wonder what the world is turning into.

Little girls as young as 9 months being sexually assaulted by irresponsible sick animals called rapists and you wonder what sort of sick attraction could had led to such sick acts.
Apology to the animal kingdom. Those scumbags are worse than animals.

It’s beyond reason sometimes but I think it’s time we -MOGs and MOBs unite to take the destinies of these little ones in our hands, at least while they are in our custody.

We have a role to play, sweet MOG. Big one. Like protecting them and INTENTIONALLY reducing exposures to the dangerous ‘elements’.

If we fail to ‘act right’ for their sake and try to prevent some of these ugly occurrences in our own capacities (although there is really a limit to what we can do), then we are as guilty of robbing them of their innocence as much as those sick predators around.

You’ve been to a children’s party lately?
You see how kids are dolled and glammed up?
You see the winding of waist a la ‘twerking’ by little girls all in the name of dancing?
You see the sensual moves?

I was at one party earlier in the year and I was like…really?
Some of the moves would put even Kaffy (a dancer here in Nigeria) to shame ‘cos some of these little girls could / would give her a run for her money.
Where do our kids pick those moves from?

Of course, that doesn’t require an answer.

If you were there, chances are you would be as amused as I was for those cuties were actually a delight to watch in their innocent attempts to be ‘grown-ups’ but we really need to watch it. Seriously.

Apologies if I come across as opinionated but I’m not sure we have tenable reasons to clad our little innocent ones in very skimpy wears with ‘full head’ of weaves complete with ‘full face’ of make-up all in the name of wanting them to look cute and adorable.

We have to get real and get to work. And this is not even remotely suggesting that our cute ones should stop being ‘adorned’ with pretty stuffs…but moderation is one of the keywords here.

They are beautiful, cute and adorable enough the way they are, in all their sweet innocence.

Let us allow them enjoy their childhood properly and when they’re fully grown, they would make their own choices / decisions themselves. Right ones too if we get the foundation right, God helping us.

If I were to have a little girl, maybe I would take my own advise and guard her jealously but what do I know after-all I am just a mom of two little boys who still wouldn’t eat their veggies?

In all, I really do hope you would discountenance the fact that I am just a blubbering MOB (who still yell and struggle with this parenting thing) trying to remove the specks of dust in your eyes through the log in mine.

Thank you.

From another concerned Mom,

 

 

Breaking the Mold :We Are Family

LOVE

Credit

I ‘trafficated’ right and turned while blaring my horn simultaneously.

You see, I have come to master the usage of my horn very well and considering that I live in a very busy city, a good / annoyingly loud horn is non-negotiable for me.

I rested my palm on the noise-making contraption again and was soon rewarded with the sight I needed to see, to get me off the busy street.

M’med speedily flung open the gate as if to say..abeg ma’am take it easy make we hear word.

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Easy DIY Card Craft for Kids: Mini Valentine Card

DIY Card Craft for kids

Valentine card craft with kids

Hi Gang, I bring to you an easy DIY Card Craft for Kids.

But first, hope your weekend is moving smoothly and how about those goals and resolutions?

I believe the lines are beginning to fall into pleasant places for you. If things are yet to take shape, worry not. We still have more than 300 days left in 2016 and I daresay that is more than enough time to achieve those objectives…with a dash of hard-work, diligence, perseverance, consistency and an overdose of prayers!

So the better part of today was spent with the boys, crafting. They had been pestering me to get some cardboard for making Valentine cards for over a week and I just had to succumb to the pressure.

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Parenting 101: How to help your picky eater eat better

how to help your picky eater eat better

Consider this a parenting 101 course on how to help your picky eater eat better but I’ve got to warn you ahead:

*Long post alert*

Years before I became a parent, I’d take a look at my sister bending over her little boy every night at the dinning table, doing acrobatic stunts while chanting, singing plus praying …”ini-love…bobo-love…eat in Jesus name…you must eat in Jesus name”…and inwardly chuckle.

It was always entertaining for me as much as it was frustrating for my poor sister.

Why would a toddler choose to not eat and condemn their sweating parent to the rigors of enrolling in the school of speaking in tongues just to get them to take in enough nutritive lumps of hot amala or beans as the case may be?

I’d look at her and haughtily mutter to myself how I am never going to be ‘that’ kind of parent who sings and chants and prays before getting a child to eat.

My children would eat oh. Very well sef. Without any fuss. And they would be chubby and cuddly too like Ini-bobo. I would teach them from the womb how to chow down mounds of rice plus mountain high lumps of solids.

I bet she’ll laugh heartily if she sees me with D1 now.

Or she might just be kind enough to offer me some wisdom-induced tips on how to match the current I’m-not-eating-that-yucky-food-even-if-you-stand-on-your-head song with current captivating acrobatic moves.

Forget that I’m a mean parent who wouldn’t dance when that song is played and would rather choose to slug it out in my own stern way.

Remember those old elbow-wrestling game and staring competitions? We mentally try that as well.

Let me first tell you about D1.

He is my 6-soon-to-be-7yrs-in-two-weeks darling with the weight of a 4yr old! Yes, you read that right.

He weighs less than his 4-soon-to-be-5yr old chop-chop younger brother. Yet D1 had only been admitted at the hospital (for upper respiratory infection) just once, when he was a year old.

So when the worry levels shoot past the tolerance limit, I tend to go with hubby’s position of..”leave the young boy alone, nothing is wrong with him…he’s fine”…

But still..women…being women would hardly leave a young boy alone…like that. I tell you even though he’s healthy, the worry indicators are almost always consistently on red. So much that I had considered giving him some form of dietary supplements / appetite mawu-mawu stimulants a couple of times.

If I hear.

I hear most children are picky eaters and if they do not like a food, they just won’t eat it.

But what if they do not like every food or they like only one food and then lots and lots of junks, fizzy drinks, etc like my 7yr old?

How do you make a picky eater eat better / well?

For my boy, the first option a la award-winning, lip-smacking meal is unarguably chips+ sausage / grilled chicken

The second manageable-in-the-absence-of first-choice = plantain + stew + grilled chicken

Last option = rice+grilled chicken.

Every other option is Yacky…yucky.

When it comes to fruits, orange…orange…orange and some more orange.

Can you gauge my frustration level yet?

And I’m ‘that’ kind of mother who wouldn’t go to the length of giving in to these barely-there choices so my current fairly-working coping techniques are:

(First level) Cajoling, rationalizing and subtle emotional blackmailing..

(Second level) ‘Reward’ for the first to finish eating…

(Third level) Menacingly stern looks and threats…

Last and highest level: Light tapping / time-outs  in the dark room / study, alone…yes, I have become ‘that’ kind of parent.

But often than not…on the bright and lucky days, we stop at level 3.

And..don’t ask about the success rate, yet. Those are just techniques, the magical tips are still further down.

I tell you, the struggle is real and tiring and I would gladly purchase a magic wand that could make things happen my way.

I’m not giving up, just yet. You know what they say about it not being over until it’s over. And it’s only going to be over when I get him to imbibe an healthy eating habit that would shoot him to an appreciably healthy weight. My goal is to raise (all-round) healthy and balanced kids…so help me God (amen).

It appears that whatever I do, his weight just wouldn’t bulge but I’d keep trying and also speaking with a couple of medical personnel who are parents too…but until I get hold of the magical secret ingredient, you may want to try the following tips I got from Mayo peradventure you also have a picky eater.

PARENTING 101: MAGICAL TIPS TO HELP YOUR PICKY EATER EAT BETTER

  • Create more varieties of healthy foods (like below) to pick from...hian…if s/he doesn’t like one, chances are s/he’d get others from the array to suite his/her palate every time.

food spread

*thinking…maybe if my meals look as colorful and inviting as above…who knows?*

This tip is just right to be implemented prior to the actual preparation of the meals. For me, the chore of meal preparations take a sweaty while and I do not think I’m favorably disposed to fully preparing different kinds of healthy food options and have them pick just one, say out of five. What would happen to the remaining 4 meals or my sweaty efforts?

I believe a 7yr old boy’s habits are nearly fully formed and I also always have this at the back of mind that if I am not firm enough to resist caving in to his whims, everytime, it may become extremely difficult to ‘extricate’ myself or I may make it difficult for him to be disciplined regarding meals / healthy eating which is one of the major objectives here.

Again, I may be wrong. My orientation is also totally different from his. My sweet mum would always retort…nkan ti eyan ba ni lo nfun omo e, mi o nii jale fun e…(trans: I won’t rob the bank for you…one gives whatever s/he has available to their kids). And this has helped me in adapting to any situation, food-wise.

 

  • Involve them in the food preparation process and they may develop a healthy interest in what is been served…enough to eat and eat well.

This works, fairly well for us. I know it gives my boy a sense of hulk-size importance when he stays with me in the kitchen (especially if lil bro is absent) and he’s involved in minor but overblown tasks in the kitchen. He even taunts lil bro that he’s the ‘one and only mummy’s helper’!

  • Allow them choose what would be prepared for the family, sometimes.

My boys usually ask in the car…’mummy, what are we having for dinner?…I discovered that they are happier anytime I respond by saying…what do you want us to eat…instead of voicing out what I already have in mind. I always end up cunningly evading or modifying whatever they come up with…

  • Be creative with the spread on offer.

Nobody is too big for finger foods / fruits. I do not make use of cookie cutters but I try to chop up fruits into shapes and make everyone eat together…from the same platter. Two days ago, we had carrots, bananas and watermelon which they both enjoyed with hubby while I made dinner. And they finished it all. Or almost. D1 left out the carrots but had some of the other two which is a great improvement considering that he out-rightly said he wasn’t having any fruits at first.

  • Set a good example for them by also eating healthy
  • Minimize distractions.

D1 has the habit of choosing mealtimes to download all the gists from school. How somebody peed on himself while awaiting his turn to make use of the rest-room. Or how somebody called somebody naughty. Could be exasperating and it was all I could do not to shut him up, everytime. A 7yr old should know better, right? Now, the escape non-yelling route is…remember your table manners…let’s talk about it after dinner, okay?

I have also found out (first-hand) that it is not often a great idea to eat in front of the TV set. If you can, turn off the TV set…turn down the volume of the radio and everything else and simply focus on eating.

I’ve had to remind D1 several times that you do not watch TV with the mouth…look at things with your eyes while utilizing your mouth for eating as appropriate.

  • Make meal times fun
  • Respect your child’s appetite or lack of.

I must admit, this one is a bit hard. It is understandable if the child is normally a normal eater…pun intended but when a child does not eat enough and I still have to respect his lack of appetite…hmm. Like, mummy, I want to fast throughout today because I don’t like all the food in this house…and I’m like, okay, I respect that…for 30 minutes, before trying again.

  • Do not force-feed or force your child to eat against his wish / will.

Yeah, as difficult as it may be in practice, it is not advisable to force a child to eat. I’ve tried this a couple of times in the past and D2 threw up everything, all over himself and my rug…not once…not twice. Another downside to forcing a child to eat is that meal-times may become dreadful to them and that would be counter-productive now, wouldn’t it?

Did I hear you say, as long as they take in the required nutrients, it’s fine? Well…sometimes but not always.

Final Non-tip: I sometimes go moral / religious on them just to stir up enough guilt to goad them into quietude / acceptance. Like…

”…do you know how many little boys are out there, cold on the streets with no home or food in their tummies trying to get ordinary garri to eat? I think you should be grateful to God for providing this Semolina + fish and also to mummy for making the food even though she was very tired”.

*Semolina: Wheat pudding mostly eaten with soup*

Don’t laugh now. I tell you it works. When D2 whines now, D1 would retort:

”instead of crying, gratitude is what you should do…mummy, is that not true?”

And mummy would nod in agreement trying to hiding a triumphant smile at the same time.

Doing gratitude works, almost always.

So, there you have it. (no money-back guarantee though…lol).

Do you also have a picky (non-) eater?

How do you get them to tow the path of discipline when it comes to healthy eating?

Do you have any magical tips in addition to the above?

I’d be more than glad to read your comments.

 

PS: Sorry about the length of the post, would try harder to always shorten subsequent posts.

 

Hugs,

 

 

 

 

 

The Love Note on the White Board

”Sign up for parenting, and you don’t get to do any other shift(s) because that’s about the only shift available”

D1: Tomorrow is our Open Day…I want mummy to come.
Me: No, daddy would attend because I am going to be very busy at work.
Hubby: But you know Wednesdays are usually very busy for me because I’d be in clinic throughout.

Turning to the boys: Don’t worry…mummy would try and come for ‘your’ open day, okay?

Yeeeeeeesssssss…We want mummy to come…we want mummy to come….
Me: Okay, I will try.

So much for reluctant commitments…muttering under my breath, mentally rolling my huge eyes as I stroll away from the trio ganging up against me.


………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
The afternoon sun glared harshly down in all her hot glory.

Everything appeared set for the commute; ‘outside’ engagements successfully reshuffled and rearranged but no remedy found yet for the desk that taunts with randomly strewn notes, the intermittent buzzing of the intercom spiced occasionally with the ping-pongy sound of new emails dropping…waiting to be attended to.

Gosh.
How difficult can it get to honor a reluctant commitment?

Now don’t get me wrong. Open Days are veeeery important but maybe the importance level is down a notch for someone who manages to go through communication books, assignments and randomly pop into classes to ask random questions, trying to check on the kids ‘performances’ with the teachers as time and chance happens.

So you see why yours truly selflessly wanted the ‘busier’ parent to endure the predictably hot sun and traffic gridlock this (open day) time around?

Thank you for reasoning along with me.

Talking to myself…but does it make sense considering the state of my desk and everything else?

Oh bother.

Those boys would be disappointed if mummy doesn’t show up…he said I’d try and make it and they believed and heaven helps anyone who fails to honor such a forced commitment.

Okay. Even though it doesn’t make much sense to endure all, like driving to the school a second time, coming back to work to finish up and then driving back after closing to pick them up but I’ll just pick those keys anyway, put one foot right after the other and get out of those two doors.

You see, the struggles are very real under Lagos’ lunch hour scorching heat…heat so intense that ACs become mere hot fans.

Oftentimes, it is easier to just ram up 101 reasons, genuine reasons why we do not have to get up and show up.

But when the chips are down, those reasons would pale into miniscular insignificance. Like it smacked me right in the face on getting to my 3rd Grader’s class…where I was confronted by one of the truths of my situation, proudly pointed out by my ecstatic lil man.

The white board gallantly adorned with beautifully scripted black notes and ‘that’ heart…’Mom I love you so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so much’

And then it didn’t matter anymore.

None of those things I shelved to get there through the scorching sun and traffic mattered anymore as I gazed at my Pulitzer prize.

That up there is it, at that moment. The Ultimate Parenting Pulitzer Award, 2015 Open Day Edition.

Parenting is about the hardest but most rewarding task I’ve ever undertaken, seriously.

You get thrown a lots of curves which includes getting up or being forced from bed..yes…showing up when it is least convenient, among other things, deluding yourself into thinking you are going on vacation but you are just geographically transferring tasks and worries…but then you have to do what you have to do because you already signed up to do this and no other shift is available.

And that is not discountenancing the many times one might feel overwhelmed, beaten, battle with internal and external stress and myriads of emotions, unattended to-do lists, personal struggles, fear, insecurity, etc

I’m not going to pretend that showing up this one time was a walk in the park considering that two + half round trips were made the same day and hours were lost in traffic but the joy, love and satisfaction given / received trumped the inconveniences.

Neither am I pretending that showing up or taking ownership of our various commitments – which may take diverse forms and shapes – is ever going to be easy but it does have its own rewards after all, in the heartfelt thanks, the pure joy reflecting in the beautiful smiles that light up the little faces, in the sense of satisfaction and fulfillment, in little arms snaking their ways round one’s necks and hearts in warm appreciative hugs, and of course the little black notes on the white boards.

And I already look forward to more beautiful moments, that is if I keep managing to still the little voice of reason that keeps throwing up the whys and whats and what nots.